Wednesday, 8th October 2003


Since Australia started being called Australia many species of plant and animal have been introduced from outside. If you're a vulnerable indigenous species you will remember meeting your first fox or cat for the rest of your life - and that isn't going to be a long time. Much habitat has also been lost to the demands of agriculture. Dryandra to the south-east of Perth (near Narrogin) is an island of original woodland where baiting with 1080 poison is being used to give native species like woylies and bilbies a chance. 1080 poison is derived from a native poison pea plant to which native animals have developed a tolerance that introduced species do not have.

The Australian Department of Parks and Wildlife (then Conservation and Land Management) have an enclosure at Barna Mia where animals like bilbies and boodies can safely graze. (The "Mia" bit is said with an i sound not an ee sound.) CALM do night spotlighting tours so can you see these little marsupials in the enclosure. Food is used to entice them out of their hidey-holes and in the red glows of the spots CALM use you too can see that bilbies have very strange pixie ears.

Forests away from civilisation are dark and mysterious places at night. Returning back I took a wrong turn then attempted to reverse only to put the car into a ditch. This was a low point in the holiday. At least it was a moonlit night as I walked back to where I was staying, listening to rustling in the undergrowth. And Australia no longer has the marsupial lion.